Paula Mendoza’s Icons

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


This week I caught up with Paula Mendoza, whose eponymous line of earthy-yet-glamorous jewelry has graced the pages of Vogue, O (Oprah) magazine, and D.C.-based publications including Washington Life and DC magazine (and here on PB, natch). I came across her work in 2008 at *Muleh, which still carries her line (the line is also carried at Tabandeh at Mazza Gallerie/Friendship Heights). The Colombian-born designer left DC for New York two years ago, and has since expanded her following from DC’s fashiony set to Isabella Rossellini and many others.

I thought I’d catch up with Paula to talk about her new line, “New York Icons,” and what makes someone iconic, anyway.

What makes someone an icon?
Timeless style, confidence, uniqueness

What inspires you?
People on the streets of NYC inspire me, they are so individual and unique, each person carries their own story in the way that they dress and it is so inspiring to watch it. This is a collection full of passion, and full of my own experience living here. I follow a couple of blogs: The Sartorialist, Garance Dore, Man Repeller, and All The Pretty Birds.

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing?

Tricky question, because I love with all my heart what I do, and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I am very lucky and blessed actually.

Who are some of DC’s ‘icons’ and why? can you name one or two and describe what you’d make for them?
I think Robin Givhan always carries herself very well, she knows exactly what she likes and how to put it together. For her I would make something minimalist because I think she is very no-nonsense in her writing style.”

What about Michelle Obama?
Oh my God, Michelle Obama is a complete icon, she is absolutely stunning, and her style is, like I said, timeless and unique. I named my Michelle earrings for her.

I like that there’s some Beltway flair in the collection! What do you miss about DC?
My friends and Cork, the incredible little restaurant on 14th Street!

*Muleh opened a pop-up location in Georgetown, just in time for the holidays. Read more on Refinery29.


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